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Vital signs of Australia’s arts and culture

13 Feb 2014

Australia’s first comprehensive statistical analysis of the economic, cultural and social value created by the arts and cultural sectors has been released for public comment.

Vital Signs: draft cultural indicators for Australia is the work of the Statistics Working Group, which is attached to the Meeting of Cultural Ministers and comprises representatives from the Australian Government and state and territory governments, in partnership with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics.

The report acknowledges the importance of arts and culture as a catalyst for economic growth and its role in personal and community wellbeing and social inclusion.

While the ABS produces statistics on arts and culture in Australia, a comprehensive set of indicators for Australian arts and culture does not yet exist.

National indicators play an important role in many fields of policy, particularly in education, the economy and the environment, enabling governments to assess the strength of a sector, its key contributions to the community, the impact of policy initiatives and trends in its growth or decline over a period of time.

Vital Signs draws on international research and practice in the field including the New Zealand Government’s work in this area.

The public is invited to comment on whether the draft framework is useful, if the themes and the proposed indicators are correct, and whether there are other indicators that should be included.

Visit the Vital Signs information page here, read the full report here, or a summary fact sheet identifying the proposed indicators. Take part in the online survey here and /or attend a workshop. The deadline for the online survey and written responses is 17 March, 2014.

Further information regarding local opportunities for consultation is available through the government arts agencies in each State or Territory. Participants in the screen sector can contact Screen Australia at